***DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE FROM MOODY PUBLISHERS TO REVIEW***
Thabiti Anyabwile’s The Gospel For Muslims: An Encouragement To Share Christ With Confidence (copyright 2010) represents the third book I have reviewed for Moody Publishers. J. Mack Stiles writes the book’s foreword, explaining why he has been waiting for this book (pp. 9-11). Afterwards, in a section titled “Why This Book?”, Anyabwile explains this book’s organization and purpose (pp. 13-15). He then gives his testimony in the following section titled, “The Triumph Of The Gospel In A Muslim’s Life” (pp. 17-22). In that section, he makes a very important point; he states that “any Muslim desiring to be consistent and intellectually honest had to come to grips with the teaching of the Bible” (p. 20). He gives specific Quran references that call people to “judge the truth using the Bible” (p. 20). Anyabwile elaborates on this a bit further in the “body” section of his book. This section has two parts: one is “The Gospel” (consisting of five chapters) and the other is “As You Witness” (consisting of six chapters). It should be noted that at the end of each chapter, Anyabwile gives at least two “things to remember” to help summarize the chapter. This is effective for the sake of clarity, comprehension and readability.
In part 1, Anyabwile explains the Gospel (pp. 25-89). He uses the first two chapters to talk about God and sin (pp. 25-52). He uses an effective illustration to show the futility of not knowing God for who He really is (pp. 31-32). Anyabwile also does not hold back in his description of sin (p. 52). Specifically, he does not sugarcoat it by calling it a mistake, weakness, mess or the like. Instead, he recognizes it as “rebellion against God”, among other things (p. 52). After two good chapters on the person of Jesus Christ (pp. 53-75), Anyabwile uses a chapter to discuss repentance and faith, two key ingredients in a born-again believer (pp. 77-89). While the chapter overall has solid information, Anyabwile seemingly places much emphasis on the person’s making a decision for Christ (pp. 79-80). Anyabwile describes faith as follows:
Like repentance, faith involves the entire person — his or her mind, emotions and will. Faith is knowing the truth about Jesus Christ and what He has done for our salvation, accepting those facts with a joyful heart, and making a personal decision to trust Jesus to save you. The person who has faith or believes in Jesus Christ depends on Jesus to deliver him or her from the judgment of God against sin. Their confidence is in Jesus and not themselves for eternal life.
While it is true that born-again believers trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ instead of themselves for eternal life, this concept of “making a personal decision” seemingly reeks of synergism. After all, Anyabwile calls repentance, like faith, something that involves the entire person. Repentance, however, is a gift from God (2 Timothy 2:25; Romans 3:20, 6:23). Furthermore, faith is more than just mere head knowledge (Hebrews 11:1-40; Romans 10:1-21). Obviously, Anyabwile could have written this section a bit better.
In part two, Anyabwile focuses on the practicality of witnessing (pp. 93-166). After a chapter about being filled with the Spirit (pp. 93-104), Anyabwile gives excellent material on the importance of trusting the Bible (pp. 105-116). He then writes solid chapters on being hospitable, using the local church and suffering for the name (pp. 117-158). He concludes the part with a chapter titled “The Good News For African-American Muslims” (pp. 159-166). In his book conclusion, he both recaps his testimony and urges the reader to “joyfully tell the good news” (pp. 167-168).
Aside from the one thing I noted regarding Anyabwile’s description of repentance and faith, this is a solid book. Anyabwile makes some good points in all his chapters. Furthermore, he gives good and practical ways for Christians to better evangelize Muslims. While it is not the best book I have read about witnessing to Muslims, it is still a good resource that I would recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about how to witness to Muslims.